Choosing a hosting service for your WordPress site is kind of like choosing where you’re going to stay on your next vacation. You want the price to be good, the room to be clean, the grounds secure, and the staff accommodating, but renters can’t always be choosers. When you’ve already put money into the trip itself, you have to weigh the pros and cons of your accommodation choices.
How is choosing a hosting service like deciding on lodging? To put it simply, your site needs a place to stay on the web. It needs someone to put it up for the night, to belong somewhere it can unpack its bags. Essentially, your site needs a host. Otherwise, it’s going to get into town and roam aimlessly.
Just like there are several options for choosing a place to stay, you have options when it comes to choosing a web host as well. If you’re not a web savant and you want to keep things simple (as simple as you can), these are your WordPress site’s options: shared, virtual private server, dedicated, or cloud and content delivery network hosting. If none of that rings a bell for you, don’t worry. Here are the main things to consider for each.
1. Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is a little like that motel you gamble on because you want to save a little cash and not overly commit to a place. Going in, you know the room will be small and the pool will be shared, but it’s easy to get a room and there is someone on site to answer your questions. Just keep your door locked.
- It’s cheap.
- The server’s security and maintenance are handled for you.
- Many of the tools you need are already installed.
- It’s easy and quick to get started.
- Since you’re sharing the server, your site’s security isn’t guaranteed. If other users on the server don’t take the same security measures as you, it could compromise the entire server, including your site.
- You often have limited control, so you may not be able to access all the settings, meaning don’t expect mints on your pillow or miniature shampoos.
- Again, it’s shared, so that goes for the resources as well. If another user’s site suddenly gets a lot of traffic, that limits your bandwidth, and your site could be unavailable at times.
- There’s a limit. Even shared hosting companies who say they’re unlimited aren’t. If your site is using too many resources, they could shut down your site.
The downside may make you run all together, but if you have a simple site that won’t be getting a ton of traffic, there’s no need to make a huge investment. Just sleep on top of the sheets.
2. Virtual Private Server Hosting
Okay, so maybe motels aren’t for you. You don’t want to spend all your vacation money on your room, but you do want a nice enough place with more room and some fresh towels. That kind of hosting is your virtual private server (VPS). Do keep in mind, though, that there are two types of VPS hosting plans: managed and unmanaged. Managed comes with extra security and support. Unmanaged means you’re more on your own, so decide how important room service and amenities are to you.
- It’s pricier than a motel, but it’s not going to break the bank.
- You get more resources than with shared hosting.
- You have access to all the settings, and if you have trouble, your hosting company will usually be able to help you.
- You can typically upgrade your plan if you find you’re needing more resources.
- Security can sometimes be an issue. There’s still someone on the other side of the wall that can ruin your night.
- You may run into a problem with resources occasionally. Don’t count on the continental breakfast.
- If you get an unmanaged plan, technical support could be a let down.
If your site is only slightly complex and you expect steady traffic, a VPS is an affordable option.
3. Dedicated Server Hosting
Having a dedicated server is like renting a cabin for your vacation. The space is totally yours and you have full reign of everything in it. It is going to be more expensive, however, and you have to manage more on your own, so don’t expect to call downstairs at 3 a.m.
- It’s more secure. No one else is around.
- You don’t have to share anything. The resources are all yours, and you decide who you let in to use them.
- You have full access. Use the kitchen, go through all the cabinets, and do 1,000 jumping jacks if you want.
- You’re solely responsible. If something goes awry, it’s up to you to clean it up.
- You can’t upgrade unless you get a whole new server.
- You’ll need a bigger budget.
If you’re willing to pay more and be held more accountable, this isn’t a bad option, but you should know how to work everything before you’re left alone.
4. Cloud & Content Delivery Network Hosting
Cloud hosting is different because it usually refers to groups of servers instead of one. Think of it as renting a big beach house with your extended family. You can switch rooms if yours isn’t providing what you need. However, with this many people in the house, you may have to wait for a bathroom sometimes, and your comb may get misplaced.
A content delivery network (CDN) relies on servers located globally to store versions of your site so that it performs well no matter where the viewer is. With both of these choices, you do have to share resources, but since there are more servers, there are more resources to go around. Just like when everyone puts in money on a vacation house, you can get a bigger, better place.
- Expense control: With cloud hosting, as well as with most CDNs, you only have to pay for what you use.
- If you find you need more resources, you can get them quickly.
- It’s more stable. When traffic backs up, your site can easily jump to another server.
- Security still isn’t guaranteed. Security is hard to come by.
- Most WordPress sites are dynamic, so a CDN typically won’t increase your front end’s speed.
- Both are more difficult to use, especially cloud hosting, and usually require help from a developer.
These are not for you if you have a simple site with minimal viewership. These options are for sites with a lot of content and traffic, but they’re not recommended for beginners.
What Do We Recommend?
Your budget does have to be considered, but it’s more important to look at what you’ll be getting in terms of security, access, bandwidth, and support. They’re certainly not all created equal. Our developers at Textivia specialize in navigating the right option for each site to ensure the site’s best performance. It’s what they do. If you’d rather leave the hosting wizardry to them, Textivia is happy to help.
Email us at [email protected] or give us a call to learn more about how Textivia can help you with all your hosting service questions and needs!